Clostridium difficile colitis in patients after kidney and pancreas-kidney transplantation

Transpl Infect Dis. 2004 Mar;6(1):10-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2004.00040.x.


Limited data exist about Clostridium difficile colitis (CDC) in solid organ transplant patients. Between 1/1/99 and 12/31/02, 600 kidney and 102 pancreas-kidney allograft recipients were transplanted. Thirty-nine (5.5%) of these patients had CDC on the basis of clinical and laboratory findings. Of these 39 patients, 35 have information available for review. CDC developed at a median of 30 days after transplantation, and the patients undergoing pancreas-kidney transplantation had a slightly higher incidence of CDC than recipients of kidney alone (7.8% vs. 4.5%, P>0.05). All but one patient presented with diarrhea. Twenty-four patients (64.9%) were diagnosed in the hospital, and CDC occurred during first hospitalization in 14 patients (40%). Treatment was with oral metronidazole (M) in 33 patients (94%) and M+oral vancomycin (M+V) in 2 patients. Eight patients had recurrent CDC, which occurred at a median of 30 days (range 15-314) after the first episode. Two patients (5.7%) developed fulminant CDC, presented with toxic megacolon, and underwent colectomy. One of them died; the other patient survived after colectomy. CDC should be considered as a diagnosis in transplant patients with history of diarrhea after antibiotic use, and should be treated aggressively before the infection becomes complicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clostridioides difficile* / isolation & purification
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous* / diagnosis
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous* / drug therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous* / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Vancomycin